The Jamaica men’s team will replace South Africa for the Sunshine Girls upcoming tri-nation series, which will also include Trinidad and Tobago.

Originally the three teams were expected to part in the series, which was scheduled to begin on October 9th.  The fixture opponents have, however, been modified after South Africa pulled out of the series due to countries rising number of Covid-19 cases. 

With short notice to find a replacement, the decision was made to employ the assistance of the country’s male team.  The dates for the fixtures have now also been moved forward, with the opening game of the tri-series now expected to be on the 14th.

The Jamaicans ranked fourth in the world, are expected to play against in a three-match series dubbed the ‘Vitality Roses Reunited’ set for London, in September.  Many of netball’s top teams will be looking to step up their preparations with the Commonwealth Games set to take part in Birmingham, England next year.  The Jamaican team has not played in international competitions since the World Netball Cup in 2020.

 

Manny Pacquiao will go down as one of the greatest fighters of all time and newly crowned world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk possesses a similar skillset, says Joseph Parker.

Pacquiao's decorated boxing career has come to an end, with the sport's only eight-division world champion announcing his retirement.

His decision came under a month after his unanimous points loss to Yordenis Ugas for the WBA super welterweight title.

The 42-year-old had made his boxing return against Ugas for the first time since July 2019, but the Filipino's comeback did not go according to plan in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao, who has declared his candidacy in the 2022 Philippine presidential election, retires with a record of 62 wins (39 knockouts), eight losses and two draws.

Heavyweight contender Parker, who was speaking prior to the formal announcement from Pacquiao, suggested he did not want to see one of the best boxers in history fight on. 

He also thinks Usyk, who has just been crowned WBA, WBO and IBF champion after defeating Anthony Joshua, possesses some of the same traits.

"I feel like he's going to go down as one of the best of all time," New Zealander Parker said to Stats Perform.

"It is quite hard to see someone like Pacquiao to continue to fight when he had this great legacy and great career. 

"And now he can still beat a lot of guys but it is hard to see someone who is not in his prime. They keep fighting and let these guys get the better of them."

Describing what makes Pacquiao special, Parker added: "I feel like he is similar to [Usyk]; his movement, his footwork; he's very quick on his feet and also the volume of punches that he throws. 

"He throws a lot of punches and combinations. 

"And I feel like it's really hard to fight someone like Pacquiao when he's trying throwing all these punches and the movement that he presents.

"His legacy? The eight-time division champion - just the achievement of that and a lot of a lot of young fighters look up to him. 

"You have to say that he's going to go down in history and he's going to always be talked about, as an eight-time division world champion. 

"And he can give a lot back to the sport by teaching the [young] fighters, signing other fighters and just being involved as a manager or promoter, as he knows the game and set up.

"My favourite Pacquiao fight? I really like the fight against Ricky Hatton. Just the timing and precision of when he landed the big shot to finish the fight. 

"Hatton is a beast himself and has had a great career, but when you’re in the ring with Manny Pacquiao it’s a different story."

Greg Rutherford is dreaming of becoming the first athlete in almost 100 years to win gold at both the Summer and Winter Games after being named in Great Britain's bobsleigh squad ahead of Beijing 2022.

The 34-year-old won gold for Britain in the long jump event on home soil at London 2012 and followed that up with a bronze in Rio four years later.

Rutherford announced his retirement from athletics in July 2018 and started training in the bobsleigh five months ago.

He has now confirmed that he made the cut for GB's five-man squad that will now attempt to qualify for the upcoming Winter Games, which takes place in February 2022.

"A massive milestone has been hit in my bobsleigh journey," Rutherford posted on Instagram. "A few weeks ago we had our trials and I managed to qualify for the British team to compete this winter!

"The team now has to qualify for the Olympic Games by placing well on the World Cup circuit (as does every team).

"This has been a huge undertaking, going from a very retired former athlete, to retraining in a new sport and qualifying for the team. A massive thank you to everyone who's helped thus far.

"We start competing in a couple of months' time with the medal dream very much alive."

Only six British athletes have ever contested at both the Summer and Winter Games, most recently former sprinter and bobsledder Allyn Condon in 2000. None of them have won medals at either event.

Rutherford told the Guardian: "There were a few doubters when I said I wanted to make the Winter Olympics in April, but I always back and believe in myself, and I am absolutely delighted to have been selected.

"I am extremely confident we can qualify for Beijing and go on to achieve something very special."

There have been just six previous examples of athletes from any country winning medals at both the Summer and Winter Games.

Eddie Eagan (in 1920 and 1932) and Gillis Grafstrom (in 1920 and both 1924 and 1928) set the benchmark for Rutherford by taking gold at both, although the latter competed in the same sport – figure skating – on each occasion.

Eagen built on his light-heavyweight boxing triumph in the four-man bobsled.

Oleksandr Usyk is ready to beat Anthony Joshua for a second time following confirmation that the dethroned heavyweight champion has "activated in principle" a rematch clause.

Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk outclassed Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday to win the IBF, WBA and WBO titles by unanimous points decision.

Joshua, who is now 24-2 after suffering a second defeat in four fights, said after his latest surprise loss he is "110 per cent" up for a rematch to win back his belts.

Speaking at a news conference in Kiev, Usyk's promoter Alexander Krassyuk confirmed the wheels are in motion for the two men to meet again, likely in early 2022.

"The rematch was specified in the contract," Krassyuk said. "It has already been activated in principle, from the side of Joshua.

"So I remember when we discussed with Oleksandr the issue of rematch, he was delighted and said, 'Wow, cool, I will beat [Anthony] twice'."

Usyk's southpaw stance and smooth footwork troubled Joshua from the outset and the unbeaten Ukrainian left his opponent on the ropes and desperate for the bell in the final round.

However, Joseph Parker – the first man to take Joshua the distance in their 2018 unification fight – has backed the Briton to come back stronger if the rematch goes ahead.

"Usyk showed everyone watching tremendous skill and footwork and movement. You just saw him outbox and outsmart AJ for the 12 rounds," Parker told Stats Perform.

"But [Joshua's] a smart man, and he's got a smart team. He's faced a loss and adversity, and he's come back with a better game plan. That's what he's going to need to do. 

"I think I saw an interview saying he's already watched the fight straight after it happened, and he just needs to make those adjustments and how to counter someone like Usyk.

"Who wins the rematch depends on the training, it depends on who shows up on the day. But going into the rematch, Usyk would have big confidence. 

"It's pretty crazy how he came from the cruiserweight division, unified champion of the world, and then has three fights and he's the unified champion of the world. 

"That's the goal of a lot of heavyweights, to be champion of the world and be unified champ. It's so crazy how things happen."

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn said he expects the rematch to take place in February or March next year, and it is "very likely to happen in the United Kingdom", as he effectively ruled out staging the high-profile bout in Ukraine.

But two-weight world champion Usyk, who is now 19-0, reiterated his desire to face Joshua in front of a packed crowd at the Olympic Stadium in his homeland.

Usyk said: "How does Hearn know that in February at the Olympic Stadium it is bad to box? Has he ever fought in February at the Olympic Stadium?"

Emma Raducanu has been given a wildcard entry to the Indian Wells Open in her first tournament since winning the US Open.

The 18-year-old claimed a sensational triumph at Flushing Meadows earlier this month, becoming the first qualifier to take a major title.

Raducanu defeated fellow unseeded teenager Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 in the final of only her second grand slam.

The Briton did not drop a set throughout her fairytale run and climbed from 150th in the WTA rankings to now sit 22nd.

And Raducanu's remarkable display has earned her the opportunity to enjoy further stateside success at Indian Wells, having missed the cut when the entry list was first announced during the US Open.

She still has an outside chance of making the WTA Finals in Guadalajara, with appearances planned at tournaments in Russia and Romania later in October.

Raducanu's hopes of another deep run at Indian Wells have been boosted by the absence of superstar pair Naomi Osaka and Ash Barty, who have both withdrawn from the event.

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden says he has never felt better heading into the new NBA season after enduring an injury-ravaged 2020-21 season.

Harden missed 23 games in the 2020-21 season due to a hamstring injury, which he aggravated during the Nets' playoffs campaign.

The 32-year-old, who had joined the Nets in January, played through pain as Brooklyn bowed out of the postseason in the Eastern Conference semifinals to eventual champions the Milwaukee Bucks.

Harden's teammate Kyrie Irving also had injury problems derail the Nets in the playoffs, leaving plenty on the shoulders Kevin Durant, the final member of 'the big three'.

"I've had two and a half months to recover, and I feel very, very good," Harden told ESPN. "I get an entire year, training camp included, with the guys."

He added: "I've tried to get my mind and my body right. That's all I've tried to focus on this summer. I've come back even better, bigger, stronger and quicker. I feel better than I probably have ever felt before.

"[I'm] just more confident knowing we have a legit chance to be the last team standing."

Harden, who won the 2018 NBA MVP award, also offered an update on his contract status with title favourites Brooklyn, having not yet extended his deal, which has a player option for $47million at the end of the coming season and expires the following year.

"Over the course of my career, I've never been a free agent before," Harden said.

"I've always been loyal, signing contract extensions and being there, being there, being there. I want to take my time with it.

"It's going to be very difficult to leave here or leave Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. I want this season to focus on winning the championship. Everything else will work itself out."

Harden played 36 times for the Nets during the 2020-21 season, averaging 24.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10.9 assists per game.

His 24.6 points per game for the year, including eight games with the Houston Rockets, represented his lowest average since his final season with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011-12, when he started just twice.

However, playing alongside Durant and Irving, Harden's usage rate fell to 29.0 per cent, having been as high as 40.5 per cent in 2018-19.

The St Louis Cardinals extended their remarkable streak to 17 consecutive victories and clinched the second National League Wild Card spot with a 6-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.

The triumph seals a postseason spot for the Cardinals for the third consecutive year after a franchise-record run.

The Cardinals become the third team in the expansion era to win 17 straight within a season, behind only the 2017 Cleveland Indians (22) and the 2002 Oakland Athletics (20).

St Louis were forced to come back from a multi-run deficit for the sixth time during their streak after Luis Urias' two-run blast in the fourth inning.

The Cards responded immediately, with Adam Wainwright's bunt helping Harrison Bader tag to level it up.

Avisail Garcia's error from Tyler O'Neill's base hit allowed Paul Goldschmidt home, before home runs from Jose Rondon and Nolan Arenado sealed the win and another postseason berth.

Morton fires Braves past Phillies

Charlie Morton had 10 strikeouts as the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 to edge a step closer to the clinching a fourth consecutive NL East title.

The result means the Braves (84-72) are 3.5 games ahead of the Phillies (81-76).

In the battle for the NL West title, the San Francisco Giants (103-54) produced a four-run sixth-inning rally to win 6-4 over the Arizona Diamondbacks, while the Los Angeles Dodgers (101-56) survived a late scare to win 2-1 against the San Diego Padres.

The Seattle Mariners kept alive their hopes of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2001 with a 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics, with Mitch Haniger hitting his 100th career homer.

The Houston Astros stayed 4.5 games ahead of the Mariners with a 4-3 walk-off win over the Tampa Bay Rays, where J.T. Chargois walked the last two runs.

Salvador Perez claimed the outright lead for home runs in the majors with his 47th for the season in the Kansas City Royals' 6-4 over the Cleveland Indians.

Wind out of Red Sox's sails

The Boston Red Sox fluffed a 2-0 lead in a must-win game in the AL Wild Card race, going down 4-2 to the lowly Baltimore Orioles. Chris Sale had six strikeouts and none earned through five innings before the Orioles flipped the game on its head, leaving the Red Sox unstable at 88-69, marginally ahead of the Mariners (88-70) and the Toronto Blue Jays (87-70).

Stanton's hot streak continues

Giancarlo Stanton crushed an improbable 421-foot three-run home run as the New York Yankees secured a critical 7-2 win over the Blue Jays in the AL Wild Card hunt. In-form Stanton now has 13 RBI in his past four games, with his seventh-inning homer opening up a four-run lead for the Yankees in a crucial game. Stanton has also homered in four straight games.

Tuesday's results

New York Mets 5-2 Miami Marlins
Pittsburgh Pirates 8-6 Chicago Cubs
Baltimore Orioles 4-2 Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees 7-2 Toronto Blue Jays
Atlanta Braves 2-1 Philadelphia Phillies
New York Mets 2-1 Miami Marlins
Minnesota Twins 3-2 Detroit Tigers
St Louis Cardinals 6-2 Milwaukee Brewers
Texas Rangers 5-2 Los Angeles Angels
Kansas City Royals 6-4 Cleveland Indians
Houston Astros 4-3 Tampa Bay Rays
Chicago White Sox 7-1 Cincinnati Reds
Colorado Rockies 3-1 Washington Nationals
San Francisco Giants 6-4 Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 San Diego Padres
Seattle Mariners 4-2 Oakland Athletics

Phillies at Braves

The Phillies get another chance to keep alive the race to win the NL East division when they face the Braves in the second game of their three-game series on Wednesday.

Manny Pacquiao's decorated boxing career has come to an end, the sport's only eight-division world champion announcing his retirement.

Pacquiao called time on his career inside the ring a month after his unanimous decision loss to Yordenis Ugas for the WBA super welterweight title.

The 42-year-old had made his boxing return against Ugas for the first time since July 2019, but the Filipino great's comeback did not go according to plan in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao, who has declared his candidacy in the 2022 Philippine presidential election, retires with a record of 62 wins (39 knockouts), eight losses and two draws.

Regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, Pacquiao – the first fighter to win major world titles in four of the eight glamour divisions; flyweight, featherweight, lightweight and welterweight – is the only boxer to hold world championships across four decades in the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s.

"It is difficult for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over. Today, I am announcing my retirement," Pacquiao said in a video on his Facebook page, having scored wins over the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto during his storied career.

"Wow... I never thought that this day would come. As I hang up my boxing gloves, I would like to thank the whole world especially the Filipino people, for supporting Manny Pacquiao."

Pacquiao, who made his professional debut aged 16, said: "You gave me the chance to fight our way out of poverty. Because of you, I was able to inspire people all over the world. Because of you, I have been given the courage to change more lives. I will never forget what I have done and accomplished in my life, I can't imagine.

"I just heard the final bell. Tapos na ang boksing [boxing is done]. Maraming, maraming salamat po [thank you very much]. God is good all the time.

"I was given the opportunity of representing the Philippines, bringing fame and honour to my country every time I entered the ring. I am grateful for all my accomplishments and the opportunity to inspire the fans."

 

Former world number one Andy Murray earned a second-round clash with Casper Ruud at the San Diego Open after easing past lucky loser Denis Kudla in straight sets.

Murray – a three-time grand slam champion – defeated Kudla 6-3 6-2 in just over an hour, winning an outstanding 28 of 31 (90 per cent) first-serve points on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Murray was also on top on return, converting three of four break-point opportunities against Kudla, to complete a comprehensive display.

Murray – currently ranked 116th in the world – will face second seed Ruud next at the ATP 250 tournament.

Elsewhere, Grigor Dimitrov was made to work for his 6-3 1-6 7-5 victory over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

Former world number three Dimitrov triumphed in two hours, seven minutes, confirming a spot in the second round, where he will face US Open semi-finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Diego Schwartzman – the sixth seed – progressed with a 6-2 6-3 win over Italian qualifier Federico Gaio.

Young American Sebastian Korda beat Tommy Paul 6-3 5-7 6-1 in more than two hours, while ninth seed Lorenzo Sonego, Cameron Norrie and Lloyd Harris were also victorious.

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers placed Albert Pujols on the COVID-19-related injured list while activating Cody Bellinger, it was announced on Tuesday.

Pujols – a future Hall of Famer who will celebrate his 42nd birthday in January – had a reaction from his second COVID-19 vaccination shot.

The Dodgers have not placed a timeframe on Pujols' return but the two-time World Series champion and three-time National League (NL) MVP was ruled out of Tuesday's game against the San Diego Padres.

"He didn't feel good as far as playing in a major league game," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "Just to give him a day and see where he's at tomorrow."

The Dodgers, though, activated 2019 NL MVP Bellinger from the IL after a left rib fracture sustained in an outfield collision with team-mate Gavin Lux on September 14.

Pujols is batting .255 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 82 games since arriving from MLB rivals the Los Angeles Angels in May while Bellinger – who also battled a shoulder injury earlier this season – is hitting .159 with nine homers and 34 RBI in 89 appearances.

The Dodgers (100-56) were second behind the San Francisco Giants (102-54) in the NL West division prior to Tuesday's games.

The Giants were dealt a blow with in-form Brandon Belt placed on their 10-day IL due to a left thumb fracture after being struck by a fastball against the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

"It's not optimal, but I think we're going to be fine because our players are prepared for it," Giants manager Gabe Kapler said.

The Giants are yet to put a timeframe on Belt's injury but had said on Monday he will "continue to meet with doctors over the next couple of days to develop a recovery plan and timetable for his return."

Belt is batting .274 with a career-high 29 home runs, 59 RBI and 89 hits. The 33-year-old – a two-time World Series winner – leads the Giants for homers this season.

The Golden State Warriors remain reluctant to put a timeframe on Klay Thompson's return from injury, but head coach Steve Kerr said the shooting guard is showing positive signs.

Thompson, who has not played in the NBA since June 2019, participated in team practice on Tuesday for the first time since tearing his Achilles in November last year.

The three-time champion tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) against the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, before sustaining an Achilles injury during his comeback.

Last week, Golden State put out an injury update, vaguely stating he was making "good progress", but his return to training is a significant step in the right direction.

The five-time NBA All-Star remains months away from a competitive return, however, Kerr was upbeat about his recovery on Tuesday.

"Everyone's excited that Klay is out on the floor," Kerr told reporters. "He basically did every single thing in practice today.

"We didn't scrimmage, we didn't have any live contact, but Klay is just so happy to be playing and we're all so happy to see him part of it. So just a really good first day, first couple of days, and good energy as we start to get rolling."

He added: "Klay looked great. Shooting the lights out. His team won the daily shooting competition. And he was smiling, laughing, joking around, it was really fun to see the old Klay back."

Thompson said on Monday that he was around "75 or 80 percentile of what I need to do" in terms of his Achilles injury rehabilitation, while Warriors general manager Bob Myers indicated December or January may be a likely return timeframe.

Kerr added the Warriors playing group were boosted by Thompson's return to training as the franchise seek a return to the playoffs after missing out the past two seasons.

"Part of it is his spirit, his energy, his joy," Kerr said. "A big part of it too is, 'Yeah, we got Klay.' The confidence level as a group -- we're getting Klay back.

"It makes us all feel better. And that's the sense that I have from our guys."

Kent Bazemore and Kelly Oubre Jr. have left the Warriors this off-season, with veteran Andre Iguodala re-joining along with Serbian power forward Nemanja Bjelica as free agents.

Golden State – who are reportedly among the teams interested in disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons – added teenagers Jonathan Kuminga (pick 7) and Moses Moody (pick 14) in the NBA Draft.

Russell Westbrook said LeBron James knows what it takes to win in the NBA as the Los Angeles Lakers recruit attempts to claim his first championship.

Westbrook and James will team up in Los Angeles after the former joined his hometown team following a trade from the Washington Wizards.

A nine-time All-Star and former MVP, Westbrook has a long list of honours in the NBA but the 32-year-old is still searching for his maiden ring.

Westbrook, though, is excited to join forces with four-time champion James at Staples Center, having tasted defeat in the 2012 NBA Finals when the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the latter's Miami Heat.

"LeBron out of anybody else, he knows what it takes to win a championship," Westbrook told ESPN.

"My understanding of the commitment, understanding the sacrifices that we are both going to have to make, including myself and [Anthony Davis] as well for the betterment on the team, and finding ways to be able to win a championship.

"And that's the ultimate goal. So anything along the way we, we cannot get distracted, cannot get the deterred from our ultimate goal."

Westbrook averaged 22.2 points, 11.7 assists and 11.5 rebounds with the Wizards last season.

On playing alongside James in LA, Westbrook – a dominant ballhandler – added: "It was going to work."

"When you get a chance to play against one of the greatest players of all time and consistently, it helps my game," Westbrook said.

"It helps my preparation, makes me focus more on the things I need to focus on to get to a point where I can sit down and say, 'I've accomplished everything I can accomplish in this league and now I'm lucky enough to be able to play alongside him.' So I'm looking forward to that, looking forward to the things we can accomplish here together this season."

Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon said two-way star Shohei Ohtani did not mean he wants to leave the MLB franchise.

Ohtani will become a free agent after the 2023 season and he sparked question marks over his future, having insisted his top priority is winning following another losing campaign in Los Angeles.

An American League (AL) MVP frontrunner with 45 homers and a 3.18 ERA, Ohtani was unable to prevent the Angels from a sixth successive losing season and a seventh consecutive campaign without playoff baseball.

Maddon, however, played down the Japanese sensation's comments prior to Tuesday's clash with the Texas Rangers.

"We all feel the same way, we all want to win," Maddon told reporters.

"If anybody misconstrues that as though he wants to leave, that's trying to connect some dots that weren't necessarily what he, not at all what he said.

"He also mentioned how much he loves it here. The inner sanctum of the clubhouse, the guys, the coaching staff, everything about it. The area. The fans. He loves them all.

"We all want to get to the next level, and we see it as an absolute possibility it's going to happen here in the very near future."

Prior to Tuesday, Ohtani had just three home runs in 22 September games – his lowest in any month this season.

Ohtani's 45 home runs are tied for second-most by an Angel in a single season, two behind Troy Glaus' 47 in 2000.

"Don't forget all the platitudes that he mentioned regarding everything else because I think that overrides just saying that he wants to win and somehow connect that to he wants to leave," Maddon added.

 

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said he retains a "burning desire to win trophies" in an ominous sign ahead of the upcoming 2021-22 NBA season.

James is entering his 19th season aged 36 and following an underwhelming 2020-21 campaign, which saw the Lakers dethroned after bowing out of the playoffs in the opening round.

The four-time NBA champion and MVP missed 27 games last season due to injury and averaged the fewest minutes per game (33.4) of his illustrious career.

James averaged 25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game last term, while his field-goal (51.3) and three-point (36.5) percentages were his best since 2017-18.

Gearing up for another run, James insisted he is feeling great, having overcome injuries in his quest for a fifth championship ring.

"I still have a burning desire inside of me to want to continue win, hopefully I can bring some trophies at the end of the season," James told ESPN, with the season due to get underway next month.

"That's always been my goal. I love the process more than anything. Hopefully I can put myself in a position where I can do that at the end of the season.

He added: "I'm just a guy who is very determined, who is willing to do whatever it takes for his body to be in the best shape possible to dominate at a high level.

"I'm not afraid to get uncomfortable with anything to get in the best possible shape I can be in."

The Lakers' roster has vastly changed since last season, with Alex Caruso, Dennis Schroder, Andre Drummond, Markieff Morris, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma among those to exit.

Los Angeles have added NBA veterans Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo along with former MVP Russell Westbrook.

Nine-time All Star Westbrook, who turns 33 in November, led the NBA in assists last season and broke Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson's all-time triple-double record in May.

"Right away he ups our pace," James said. "He's always in the top five as far as pace, being able to get out on the break, able to get some early buckets before the defense is set.

"He's also a flat-out playmaker. A lot of people don’t talk about how unbelievable a passer he is. Everyone sees the rebounds and the scoring but how his passing makes other guys run and better doesn't get talked about a lot. We all look forward dot that as team-mates."

James (35,367) sits third on the NBA's all-time scoring charts, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) ahead of the new season.

The 17-time All-Star refused to get drawn into the current NBA debate around COVID-19 vaccinations, which has sparked with the likes of Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving and Golden State Warriors small forward Andrew Wiggins set to miss home matches due to their refusal to get the vaccine under local state rules.

"I can only speak about myself, everyone has their own choice… I was very sceptical, but after doing my research I felt like it was best suited for myself, my family and my friends," he told reporters on Tuesday. "That's why I decided to do it."

Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers are refusing to panic amid their slow start to the NFL season and Ben Roethlisberger's offensive woes.

The Steelers are 1-2 to open the 2021 campaign following last week's surprise 24-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Doubts over two-time Super Bowl champion Roethlisberger have emerged after the 39-year-old quarterback threw two interceptions, finishing 38-of-58 passing for 318 yards and a touchdown.

Through three games, Roethlisberger – a seven-time Pro Bowler – has completed 83 of 130 attempts for three TDs, three interceptions and eight sacks.

Despite the poor start, Steelers head coach Tomlin is refusing to panic heading into Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers (2-1).

"We're not going to push the panic button," Tomlin said during Tuesday's news conference. "What do I mean by the panic button? We're not going to dramatically change who and what we are at this juncture.

"We're not resistant to change for the purposes of getting better, but we're not going to be so unsteady that we move away from our compass, our identity that we've worked hard to develop.

"We will continue to work hard to develop and the emphasis on the style of play, whatever that may be in all three phases."

Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a franchise-best 11-0 start to the season in 2020 and an AFC North crown before losing to the Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card round.

This season, only Miami Dolphins signal-caller Jacoby Brissett (67.8), Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Trevor Lawrence (60.3) and first-year New York Jets QB Zach Wilson (51.6) have a worse passer rating than Roethlisberger (79.0).

Roethlisberger's completion percentage (63.8) is only good enough for 25th, well adrift of Dallas Cowboys star and NFL leader Dak Prescott (77.5).

"This guy has a body of work over the course of not only what we've done in preparation this season, but over the course of 18 years that has us taking that approach," Tomlin said of Roethlisberger and his ongoing rest days on Wednesday.

"That is a global approach. It rests him and rightfully so. He's an older guy, and the wear and tear of plays affects him differently than younger guys. But also, he's an older guy and he has a volume of plays that most guys can't pull from that probably requires more physical work in an effort to be ready to play.

"Also, you've got to look at the totality of the journey. We're going into Game 4. We've got many games that lay ahead, and I don't want to be fielding questions late in the year about the quality of his throwing arm, for example."

Future Hall of Famer Drew Brees welcomed the possibility of Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Tom Brady breaking his NFL record on Sunday.

Brady is on the cusp of history, with the 44-year-old Buccaneers quarterback requiring just 68 yards to surpass Brees' NFL career passing yardage record of 80,358 yards.

Brees retired at the end of last season following 14 years with the New Orleans Saints and 20 years in the NFL, and the 42-year-old is all for Brady eclipsing his feat.

"I'm a firm believer that records are meant to be broken," Brees said, with seven-time Super Bowl champion Brady due to face former team the New England Patriots in Week 4.

Brees set the record in 2018 with a 62-yard touchdown and he added: "I'd be all for Brady just launching the first play of the game, just go ahead and get it out of the way.

"You said he needs, what? Sixty-eight yards? Let's have New England kick it in the end zone, start at the 25 and have him launch one to Mike Evans and let's just be done with it.

"There's no doubt I think that's gonna get knocked down pretty quick. I can't think of a guy who has invested more into his career and his preparation and kind of what he's meant for the game. It's definitely a special record because it speaks to the longevity that he's been able to experience and the level that he's been able to play at."

Brady leads the NFL this season in attempts (141), completions (97), passing touchdowns (10) and completions per game (32.3) for the Buccaneers (2-1).

"You're so locked into the game. You really can't allow yourself to go there too much," Brees said of Brady being able to enjoy the record. "It's really something that you try to get out of the way emotionally prior to the game.

"I'll be honest with you. ... I know the way I felt, leading up to games like this, whether it was playing an old team or chasing a record, I would visualise being in that moment, I would visualise breaking the record, I would visualise everything that was gonna happen.

"I would always get the tears and the emotions out of the way on a Monday or a Tuesday. Like literally cry it out on a Monday or a Tuesday, so that by the time it got to Sunday, it was all about business, it was all about the game, it was all about getting the job done."

Marcos Giron moved through to the second round of the Sofia Open, but needed 10 match points to overcome Jaume Munar 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 6-4.

Giron lost the first set in a tie-break, however, the American fought back in an encounter lasting nearly three hours on Tuesday.

Twenty minutes of match time came in the final game, which encompassed all of Giron's match points.

Munar successfully staved off the first nine and had seven break points of his own. Yet his resistance was finally broken as Giron prevailed at the ATP Tour tournament.

Next up for Giron is a meeting with Australian third seed Alex de Minaur.

Eighth seed John Millman enjoyed a more routine 6-2 6-4 victory over Mikael Ymer, while there were also victories for Laslo Djere, Dimitar Kuzmanov and Egor Gerasimov.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are dealing with significant injury issues at cornerback and may be about to turn to one of the best to play the position to solve those problems.

According to multiple reports, the Bucs are hosting five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman for a visit with a view to adding him to an ailing secondary.

Sunday's defeat to the Los Angeles Rams saw the Buccaneers lose Jamel Dean to a knee injury.

Reports suggest Dean has avoided a serious injury but, with nickel corner Sean Murphy-Bunting on injured reserve with a dislocated elbow, the Bucs require help at cornerback.

That may now come in the form of veteran Sherman. However, if he is to truly be an asset to the Bucs, he will need to bounce back from his performance in limited action in 2020.

Injuries restricted Sherman to five games for the San Francisco 49ers last year and, in his 150 pass coverage snaps as an outside corner, he allowed a burn – which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where is targeted – 72.2 per cent of the time.

That was the fourth-worst rate among outside corners with a minimum of 200 total snaps. Sherman allowed an average of 12.11 burn yards across his 18 targets, above the average of 10.51 and gave up a big play on 34.1 per cent of his targets (the average for outside corners was 27.2).

However, his burn yards per snap average of 1.45 yards was tied for 20th with Dean, speaking to the respect opposing quarterbacks still gave to Sherman through their unwillingness to test him in coverage. Indeed, Dean was targeted on 16.1 per cent of his coverage snaps compared to 12 per cent for Sherman.

And Sherman would likely point to his 2019 season as evidence he can still perform at the highest level.

A Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro two seasons ago as he helped the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV, Sherman still gave up a burn on 50.9 per cent of targets, just above the average of 50.4 for outside corners with at least 200 snaps.

Yet his burn yards per snap rate of 1.17 was sixth-best for outside corners and his burn yards per target average of 7.54 over 55 targets was also sixth.

Seventh among outside corners with a big play percentage allowed of 16.9, Sherman has recent history of helping a contender come within touching distance of climbing the mountain.

Since then, he has endured injury issues and off-field troubles this offseason. However, if those problems are behind him and the Bucs feel he can get close to his 2019 levels, then Sherman is worth a low-risk signing for a Buccaneers team aiming to remain at the summit.

Jalen Hurts took ownership after the Philadelphia Eagles crashed to a poor 41-21 loss at NFC East rivals the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

Quarterback Hurts completed 25 of 39 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, adding 35 yards from nine carries on the ground.

Much of his production, though, came with the game out of reach. The Cowboys led 27-7 just a minute into the second half when Trevon Diggs intercepted Hurts for a pick-six and the Eagles ultimately fell to 1-2.

"I didn't execute and I didn't do a good enough job of leading," said second-year pro Hurts after the game. 

"I didn't do a good enough job of running our offense and doing the things that I need to do. This one is on me.

"I like to see me play better, that is something I can control. I'll learn from this.

"I learn from it and move on. I take responsibility for how this game went. I'm learning from it and we're gonna be a better team from it. I believe that."

The Eagles now have a short week before a difficult home game on Sunday with the Kansas City Chiefs.

They will face Patrick Mahomes and a Chiefs team who have the same record, reeling with a point to prove after losing consecutive games to the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers.

"We're on a short week and no one's going to feel sorry for us," added Eagles coach Nick Sirianni.

"The Chiefs aren't going to feel sorry for us. We got to rest our bodies, get our bodies right.

"We're going to have to watch this tape on the way home, get the corrections to our guys written down, and they're going to have to look at them on their own because we're going to have to be moving on to the Chiefs really quick."

While Hurts led an impressive offensive showing in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, the Eagles are yet to get much production from their pass-catchers.

Quez Watkins – who has caught all seven of his targets for 186 yards – is the Eagles' receiving yards leader but that total is good enough for just 37th in the NFL through three weeks.

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